Archive for the ‘Lighting’ Category

Lighting Up the East Mechanical Room

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

We received the 3FLinda lights and were able to get them installed.  They look great!

Dan and Adam continued to work on the wall in the Wine Dining.  This will be a work of art that will be absolutely amazing.  While enjoying a glass of wine, it will be nice to reflect on how the wall was built and where the materials came from.

Way cool ..

These are the individual pieces of wood that are being used to construct the West wall in the Wine Dining room.


Dan and Adam have been working meticulously on the wall. Each strip is one inch wide and consists of five (5) pieces of wood. These pieces are held together with a spline, which is nailed into the wall with 22 gauge stainless steel brad nails.

The East Mechanical room is lit up with the 3FLinda lights.

The 3FLinda fixtures each have two T5-HO fluorescent bulbs. The temporary light is in the background.


View of the network equipment rack in the East Mechanical room. The shelfs under the rack are temporary.



Starting Our Lighting Control System

Friday, February 10th, 2012

The lighting control system is a critical component in reducing our energy needs.  We’re installing Schneider Electric’s Clipsal C-Bus system, which is the most advanced and robust lighting control system that we could find.

Although the basic infrastructure has been in place for some time, Bryan started assembling the components and connecting the data network.  Oh, we’re also building a small data center …

East Mechanical Room

The East Mechanical room houses the electrical distribution panels for the East side of the house as well as the Network Gateway East, which is a 12U network rack and is on the backbone to the Network Gateway West.  The electricity generated from half of our photovoltaic system enter the 200 amp panel in the East Mechanical room, which is ‘live’ today.

East Storage Room

Three of the six lighting control panels are located in the East Storage room.  Bryan installed the network connection from the Ethernet to the C-Bus network in one of the three lighting control panels.

Each room that houses lighting control panels also includes a junction box for the C-Bus network.  These junction boxes allow multiple C-Bus connectors to be joined such that only one C-Bus network cable goes into each lighting control panel.

West Mechanical Room

The West Mechanical room houses the two electrical distribution panels on the West side of the house.  As well, all the geothermal and hydronic heating/cooling equipment will be located in the West Mechanical room.

Air Handler Room

The Air Handler Room, which is on the West side of the building, houses two more lighting control panels.  As well, it has a junction box for the C-Bus network backbone, which is connected to the C-Bus network junction boxes in the East Storage room and the Upper Laundry room.

Network Gateway West

We have two network gateways, which are connected on a high-speed backbone.  We installed a temporary 12U rack for the equipment that will, ultimately, comprise the Network Gateway West.

The temporary rack has a Motorola cable modem (for Comcast), a Luxul 2300 HBR router and a gigabit switch.  Bryan bought an APC PDU, which will become our permanent source of power from the 100 amp panel located in the West Mechanical room.


Three lighting control panels in the East Storage room. The initial panel is on the right, and has the network interface (Ethernet and C-Bus) and a 12-channel relay.


Close up of the initial lighting control panel. The Ethernet and C-Bus network cables are coming through the bottom of the panel.


We put the C-Bus network junction up high as it will only need to be accessible if there is a physical network failure. You can see that we are using pink CAT5e cable for the C-Bus network and yellow CAT5e as redundant cabling.


Most of our network cabling is run through flexible orange 'smurf' conduit although some of the cabling runs free outside the conduit.


The East Mechanical room is cleaned up and all the electric distribution panels are covered and secured. The 200 amp panel on the left is 'live' as half of our photovoltaic system is connected in this panel.


Update on Our Lighting

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Today, we addressed the collars on the Lucifer lights around the exterior of the house.  Also, Bryan saw some interesting electric car charging stations over at the Netflix buildings on Winchester Boulevard.

Lucifer Lights

We’re putting in Lucifer lights in the roof overhangs around the perimeter of the house.  These lights are part of our comprehensive lighting plan, which Randall Whitehead designed for us.  We love the flush mount of Lucifer and the clean, minimalist look.

Each of the lights are in IC-rated housings.  The IC rating means that the housings can be in contact with the insulation.  Since the overhangs are outside our thermal envelope, we can recess the lights into the SIP roof.

We ordered the housings with 1-1/2 inch collars on the housings and it looks like these collars are too long.  Bill Anderson is our contact person at Lighting Advantage Lighting Technologies and he will ensure that we have the correct collars for our lights.  Since there are 29 recessed lights around the exterior that we have received and 34 recessed lights inside the house still to order, we can get the correct collars.


The Lucifer Lighting housing in the SIP. Note how the collar may be too long when the OSB replaced and the 5/8-inch reclaimed Redwood is in place.


Housing with the collar on ...


And, without the collar. We can get the correct size collars and simply replace the existing collars that are too long.







Mocking Up the Atrium Lights and Celebrating Scott’s Birthday

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

After watching Kate’s soccer game and then having lunch, Bryan and Scott Andersen went to the job site to work on the lights in the Atrium.

It was Scott’s birthday today so we took Scott and Sue Therrien to Nick’s on Main for dinner.

Mocking Up the Lights in the Atrium

We’ve been working with Randall Whitehead on the lighting plan for the  house.  He has explained to Bryan, in no uncertain terms, that each room, including the Atrium, should have the four layers of lighting: ambient, task, accent and decorative.  In working with Bryan, Randall has suggested alternative fixtures to use and, of those alternatives, recommended which fixture he prefers.

In reviewing the Atrium, Randall had recommended strongly that we include decorative fixtures.  Our overriding design concept has been ‘clean and simple’ and emphasizing function over form.  By definition, decorative fixtures do not provide much function although they can often provide accent lighting.  So, we still haven’t made a decision on the decorative fixture(s) for the Atrium.

When creating the lighting design plan, Randall recommended a number of Artemide fixtures in various locations.  To really understand how the fixtures would look, Anita Synovec, who works with Randall, arranged for Bryan to visit the Artemide showroom in San Francisco and Bryan toured the showroom on August 30, 2011.

While in the showroom, there were several fixtures that caught Bryan’s attention.  All of the Artemide fixtures have a decorative element to them, and several fixtures that were of Bryan’s interest were not on Randall’s list of alternatives.  This was no surprise as decorative fixtures are very much a personal preference and it takes a significant amount of interaction with another person to understand their personal preferences.

Bryan has always admired Scott Andersen’s eye for design and Bryan’s personal preferences are very much aligned with Scott’s personal preferences.  So, when Scott and Sue were in San Francisco on Friday morning, Bryan asked then to go through the Artemide showroom and look at fixtures.  Then, when they walked through the house on Friday and Saturday, they could identify additional decorative fixture alternatives.

Last night, over dinner (and wine) at Steamer’s Grillhouse, Scott and Bryan reviewed the lighting plan and what Scott had seen in the Artemide showroom earlier that day.  After some discussion, Scott sketched out how three Mouette fixtures could be mounted in the Atrium.  The three different Mouette fixtures are the Asymmetrical, Symmetrical and Mini.

This discussion continued over lunch today and Scott recommended that we mock up how three Mouette fixtures could be arranged in the Atrium. 

Then, Bryan and Scott spent several hours at the job site and, using cardboard and string, made a mockup of how the three Mouette fixtures could work. Of course, having ‘objects’ for decorative fixtures in 3D modeling software, such as Autodesk’s BIM software (see Green Building) could be used to ‘see’ what the lights look like when designing a house.

And it was time for dinner …

Celebrating Scott’s Birthday at Nick’s on Main

With Jo-Anne back in town after spending several days closing the quarter in Boston, we all went for dinner at Nick’s on Main.  Last year, we were in Toronto on October 1, 2010 to celebrate Scott’s birthday.

We arrived and enjoyed a glass of J Cuvee 20 NV Russian River Valley sparkling wine on the sidewalk while waiting for our table.  After moving inside to our table, we had an excellent dinner with a magnum of Chateau Montelena 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon, from the Napa Valley.  The wine was spectacular.

Scott, using the temporary deck as a craft table, cuts some cardboard to mock up the smallest Mouette fixture. Scott on the ladder hanging the cardboard mockup of the smallest Mouette fixture in the Atrium.


Scott on the ladder hanging the cardboard mockup Mouette fixture in the Atrium.



Continung, Scott hangs the second cardboard mockup Mouette fixture in the Atrium.


The two carboard mockups look excellent!

In order to visualize the placement of the three fixtures, Scott used a string line from the temporary deck to the celing.

Bryan, Jo-Anne, Sue and Scott enjoying a glass of sparkling wine in the alley next to Nick's on Main.


Enjoying dinner with Scott and Sue at Nick's on Main. Happy Birthday Scott!


Picking Up Our Pink CAT5 and Priming the FSC Siding

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

We moved forward on several fronts today … nothing completed but solid progress.

Submitting a Draft Document to the City of Monte Sereno

The first task of the day was to drop off our documentation to the City of Monte Sereno.  Bryan handed two copies to Howard Bell, the Building Official, who stamped them as ‘Received’ and said he would review the documnet.  Howard will be in a class all day tomorrow so Bryan will follow up directly with Brian Loventhal (as one copy was for Brian).

The deadline of September 29 is looming …

Picking Up Our Pink CAT5

While we don’t need to use pink CAT5 for our C-Bus network, we thought it would be a nice touch to follow the Australian code for lighting controls.  In Australia, pink CAT5 is mandated by the building code.

Bryan picked up 2,000 feet of pink CAT5, which had been ordered through ADI in Santa Clara.  Armed with the pink CAT5 and the ferrules that arrived on September 23, we have all the materials to rough in the lighting control system.  OK, we still need the final lighting design …

Working on the Lighting Design

Bryan is still working on the documentation of the lights in the house.  After the design session with Randall Whitehead last week in San Francisco, Bryan documented most of the decisions.  He needs to finish it off and get the list of lights out to the suppliers.

When going through the Artemide showroom on August 30, 2011, we discovered the Artemide’s Mouette lights, which look like airplane wings or birds in flight.  We couldn’t think where they could ‘fit’ in our home.  On the weekend, when going to the Artemide catalog again, we started to visualize how there could be a series of three individual lights that would like like they were emerging from the lower level (basement) and exiting through the clerestory windows in the atrium.

Bryan gave Scott Andersen and Sue Therrien, who are visiting us on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the address of the Artemide showroom in San Francisco so they can see the lights and then help with the design.

Time to focus on this one …

Priming the FSC Siding

Al started priming the FSC siding yesterday and then Al, Dan and Nep were cutting and installing it.  Al decided it would be more efficient if he and Nep primed all of the siding.  Then, they ccould all work together on getting the siding installed.  Especially since another box of Cor-A-Vent should be delivered tomorrow.

Dan got another couple sheets of siding up today.  These were some of the most difficult sheets of siding as they require holes for the electric receptacles and the air vents.

Lots to do tomorrow.

Especially since Scott and Sue arrive on Friday!

Photo from the Artemide catalog showing the Mouette lights in the San Francisco Airport (SFO). These lamps are very cool ...

Another photo from the Artemide catague showing the asymetric Mouette lamps. Note the glass bridge in this photo.

Our pink CAT% matches the smaller loop of pink CAT5, which was included in our light switches. We can now start wiring the switches together.

Bryan picked up another 5 gallon pail of tinted primer as the FSC siding is soaking up the primer!

Al primes another sheet of FSC siding ...


We're using all stainless steel nails on the exterior so we don't run the risk of seeing nay corrosion caused by nails.


The primed, back and front, FSC siding installed on the West side of the house.

The West wall is looking great after the inital pieces of siding have been installed.


Picking Up Our Ladder and Looking at Artemide Lights

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

September is coming like a freight train!  Along with everything else, we need to finalize our lighting design plan and get our vertical culvert covered.

Picking Up Our Ladder in Merced

One of our major building challenges is that our house is located on a ‘seasonal perched water table.’  During the year, we can have underground water that rises to 5 feet below grade.  Thus, we have a series of underground pipes that flow into a 20 ft deep vertical culvert.  Inside the vertical culvert, we have sump pumps that pump the water into our 3,677 gallon underground cistern.

The vertical culvert will be covered with an aluminum manhole cover.  Inside the vertical culvert, we need an aluminum ladder that can be used to service the sump pumps.

We worked with Ralph Rabbatt at O’Keeffe’s Inc. in San Francisco to have a custom ladder manufactured.  The ladder will be permanently mounted to the wall of the vertical culvert, and allow easy and safe access to the sump pumps.

Bryan drove to O’Keeffe’s manufacturing site in Merced today and picked up the ladder.

Looking at Artemide Lights

After picking up the ladder, Bryan drove to San Francisco to visit the Artemide showroom and look at lights.  We have been working with Randall Whitehead Lighting Solutions to create a lighting plan for the house.  Randall is a well-known lighting designer that has published several books on lighting design.

Randall suggested that we include several Artemide fixtures in our lighting plan.  It is difficult to understand the look and scale of lights by looking at photos in a catalog.  Given that Artemide has a showroom in San Francisco, Bryan drove there to see some of the Artemide fixtures that Randall was recommending.

Lots of driving!

Arriving at O'Keeffe's manufacturing site in Merced, California.


Our ladder is loaded securely on the rack, and the safety post is in the box.


The Artemide showroom at 855 Montgomery Street in San Francisco.


Pirce Suspension, by Giuseppe Maurizio Scutella, 2008.


Mesmeri wall sconces, by Eric Sole, 2005.


Mouette suspension (symetrical), by Willmotte & Associes, 2004. This light is way cool and comes either symetrical (as shown) or in an asymetrical style.


Megan suspension system, by Ernesto Gismondi.


Floor mounted framed mirror, by Ron Rezek.